CAMDEN — Maine Director of Economic Development Martha Bentley will address the Camden Rotary Club on Tuesday, Sept. 15 about the state’s 10-year economic development strategy document “A Focus on Talent and Innovation.” Bentley’s talk is the first in a monthly series the club is hosting to foster learning about and finding creative solutions for economic challenges in the Midcoast.

William Najpauer of the Midcoast Economic Development District will share an overview of the region’s unique economic and workforce needs on Oct. 13, and the club will announce additional speakers in the coming weeks. Anyone who would like to attend these Zoom meetings can obtain connection details from Stephanie French .

The speaker series stems from the club’s recent efforts to identify community needs as part of a comprehensive strategic planning process. Members’ interviews with local government officials, business leaders, nonprofit managers, and other stakeholders pointed to workforce development as a means of alleviating poverty, food insecurity and other difficulties faced by residents.

“The goal of these presentations is to educate ourselves and allow us to develop practical steps for Rotary’s use in facilitating and promoting local economic and workforce development,” said Jonathan Goss, who chairs the club’s workforce economic development committee. “We want to engage with trade and professional organizations, local municipalities, employers, educators, and others who seek ways to increase economic opportunities for local people. We believe that learning as much as we can about economic issues and potential solutions will help us determine how we can be of practical help.”

Bentley joined the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development in July 2019 as the small business and entrepreneurial development manager. In July 2020, she was appointed to her current role, in which she leads the implementation of the state’s economic development strategy. She previously served as director of innovation infrastructure with Maine Technology Institute and has worked to build Maine’s entrepreneurial ecosystem throughout the state.

Camden Rotary, one of 55 Rotary clubs in Maine, has supported charitable causes through grantmaking and hands-on service during its 95-year history. Members learn about community needs during their weekly meetings. For more information about the club, please visit http://www.camdenrotary.org.